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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At the Sept. 8 City Council meeting, City Manager Jason Gage requested that City Council approve a measure allowing him to recruit and hire a Director of Diversity and Inclusion. The position will be a senior-level management position on the City’s Leadership Team that is responsible for the development and implementation of the City of Springfield’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and initiatives. The position will work collaboratively with the City’s Leadership Team to provide advisement coaching, training and expertise to staff on issues related to policies, procedures, best practices and applicable laws related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“This is not intended to be a position that dives in and solves all our equity challenges in our community," Gage said. "However, this position gives us the ability to strengthen our collaboration with community-wide organizations in concert with the City departments that already work in this space. This will increase our ability to make a difference across the city.”
The person chosen for this position will also be a resource to the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations. This position will provide more structure to help the City and City Council meet and go beyond the expectations to address the concerns presented by various advocacy groups advocating for systemic change and just projects or programs.
In June, City Council passed a resolution condemning the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and "the violent or disrespectful treatment of others that degrades the dignity or disregards human life." It also called on the community to commit to "introspective evaluation" about the event and its implications for relationships between communities and police departments across the country.
“We have heard many comments, rightfully so, following the tragedy of George Floyd and we are of course focusing on our Council priorities, which includes public safety for all. We are looking at a statistically sound survey on related issues and will discuss in greater detail at a Council retreat in November,” Mayor McClure said.
McClure also asked staff to refer the issue to City Council’s existing Committee of the Whole to prepare for a series of listening sessions in October. That referral will be on the Sept. 21 Council meeting agenda.
The City of Springfield partners in numerous ways with the community-at-large to inspire understanding of the value of diversity and to ensure that Springfield has an inclusive culture. The Department of Public Information and Civic Engagement will assist City Council with the listening sessions and other plans that will arise as a result.
“As the local representative government, the City is held to a higher standard as a beacon and guiding organization. The trust we have previously built with our citizens is helpful. As all communities do, however, we have more work to do,” said Cora Scott, the City’s Director of Civic Engagement. “The City of Springfield is committed to taking a leadership role in addressing direct and systemic prejudice, bias and racism, the issues at the center of protests across the country and around the world demanding justice. Beyond racial equity, however, the City is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in every sense of the words.”
Human Resources Director Darla Morrison said the Director of Diversity and Inclusion will report to the City Manager and make approximately $120,000 in salary/benefits.
“The new Director of Diversity and Inclusion will serve a pivotal and strategic organizational leadership role whose primary focus will be to further advance diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and efforts throughout our organization,” Morrison said. “While it is part of all of our responsibilities to support and advance diversity and inclusion work, this position will significantly enhance the promotion of a diverse and inclusive culture within our organization, which is vital for our employees and community. I am very excited about the position and the opportunity to work collaboratively for positive impact.”
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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].